In Valentine’s Day message, President Nelson asks for an increase in ‘lovingkindness’

President Russell M. Nelson, seen here with his late wife, Sister Dantzel Nelson, served in the military during the Korean conflict. Dantzel Nelson died Feb. 12, 2005. Credit: Saints at War Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, BYU
President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, in 2018. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Noting the mixed emotions that can come as Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world on Feb. 14, President Russell M. Nelson shared his hopes for an increase in “lovingkindness” regardless of relationship status.

In posts on his social media accounts, President Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he knows both the “tender feelings that bind hearts together in love and affection” and the opposite when he felt the holiday was “absolutely painful” following the passing of his late wife, Dantzel.

Her death came only two days before Valentine’s Day in 2005. President Nelson called the time that followed “the most difficult of my life.”

He also said Sister Wendy Watson, whom he married more than a year later, brought back a feeling of “tremendous joy.”

Notwithstanding an individual’s personal relationship status, President Nelson said, the Savior is the ultimate source of love and the One who mends broken hearts.

“There is one source to whom we can all turn to either enhance the love we feel for others or to mend our hearts when they feel broken – the Savior Jesus Christ,” he said. “His ministry, His teachings and His selfless sacrifice were all born out of His infinite love and tremendous care for each one of us.”

President Nelson also pointed out one word that appears more than two dozen times in the volume of scripture studied for “Come, Follow Me” this year.

“As we study the Old Testament this year, be on the lookout for a certain word. … That word is ‘lovingkindness,’” he wrote. “Let’s find ways today to show lovingkindness to everyone around us.”

Other Valentine’s Day messages

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote that he has especially loved this time of year since the time he and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, met. Her birthday is two days after Valentine’s Day.

He said they have found that following the Savior’s perfect example of love brings more joy to their marriage than anything else.

“Surely, we will face moments of disagreement with our spouses and others we love. When we face such times, I encourage each of us to remember to look beyond ourselves,” said Elder Holland. “Christ’s Atonement alone was the greatest display of selflessness known to man. Eternal marriage — and the glorious blessings associated with it — will not come without effort on our behalf.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said he and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, are each other’s valentines, but the eternal plan of happiness means their connection goes much deeper. 

“Our Father’s plan for all of us is about families. In order for a tree to live and grow, it needs to be connected to its roots and branches. We likewise need to be connected to our roots and branches — our loved ones from before us, in our lives now, and those who will come,” he wrote.

He encouraged others to focus on family connections that they do have, and as they do, they will be blessed with more closeness and joy with their loved ones.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted on social media about how love is the theme of Valentine’s Day. He explained how Joshua 22:5 lays out four distinct steps on how to love God:

  • Walk in all His ways.
  • Keep His commandments.
  • Cleave unto Him.
  • Serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

“Make the commitment now to love God,” wrote Elder Rasband. “I promise that everything else will fall in line if you put Him first. Loving God is the key to happiness and will prepare you to face whatever comes.”

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted a video of himself and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, telling jokes and laughing together. He told her one of the things he loves most is that they’ve been able to laugh and smile for 40 years together. She responded with a smile that it’s 42 years.
“Even in life’s challenges, we can find reasons to smile,” wrote Elder Gong. “In His infinite goodness and loving kindness, God gives opportunity for our happiest and most precious relationships to also become forever.”

President Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, shared some of the messages she received on social media after asking, “What can you do to increase the feeling of loving inclusion in your Relief Society sisterhood?”

The responses included listening, being honest, sitting by others, loving and serving.

President Bingham wrote, “Happy Valentine’s Day, sisters. May we use today and every day as an opportunity to love as the Savior does.”

Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, wrote that Valentine’s Day always reminds her of a favorite quote: “They are true disciples of Jesus Christ, not who know most but who love most.”

She wrote that her friends in the Primary office have taught her so much about love. “I know that each of us have had days when it was hard to feel loved,” said Sister Wright. “If you have not felt God’s love in your life recently, please consider this scripture: ‘Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ’ (Moroni 7:48). I know from personal experience that God’s love can fill our hearts and help heal our souls.”

President Camille N. Johnson, Primary general president, shared Sister Wright’s post and added her own words.

“I met these dear women just one year ago, but I’ve believed from the start that we were friends long before that meeting,” wrote President Johnson. “They radiate the love and light of the Savior, and I am forever thankful for the opportunity to serve with them.”

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